Biden to nominate Connecticut commissioner Cardona as Education secretary

Biden to nominate Connecticut commissioner Cardona as Education secretary
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President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries FDA aims to give full approval to Pfizer vaccine by Labor Day: report Overnight Defense: Police officer killed in violence outside Pentagon | Biden officials back repeal of Iraq War authorization | NSC pushed to oversee 'Havana Syndrome' response MORE is set to nominate Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel CardonaMiguel CardonaBiden celebrates anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act Biden's Education Department must choose accountability or a 'Marbury v. Madison' moment Biden administration cancels .6M in student loan debt for fraud victims MORE to be his Education secretary, according to a person familiar with the decision.

The nomination is likely to be one of Biden's last before the Christmas holiday, and it continues the trend of the president-elect seeking to form a diverse Cabinet. Cardona, the first Latino education commissioner in Connecticut, has worked as an elementary school teacher, principal and assistant superintendent.

Tapping Cardona would leave five Cabinet posts without a nominee lined up, including attorney general.

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Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus wrote to Biden's transition team last week calling for Cardona as Education secretary. Cardona is the third Latino nominated for a Cabinet role, though the caucus has pushed Biden to nominate two Latinas to the Cabinet.

The caucus had previously endorsed ex-National Education Association president Lily Eskelen García for the role of Education secretary prior to backing Cardona.

“In these tough times, students, educators, and families face unprecedented challenges — from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis to the systemic racism that has held back too many students for too long," current NEA president Becky Pringle said in a statement. "We look forward to partnering with Secretary-designate Miguel Cardona in taking on these challenges together."

If confirmed by the Senate, Cardona will face the task of achieving Biden's goal of resuming in-person classroom learning during the first 100 days of his presidency amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“If Congress provides the funding, we need to protect students, educators and staff. If states and cities put strong public health measures in place that we all follow, then my team will work to see that the majority of our schools can be open by the end of my first 100 days," Biden said earlier this month.

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In-person learning during the pandemic has become a hot button issue, with a growing number of Americans calling on school districts to reopen classrooms.

The nation's top infectious diseases expert, Anthony FauciAnthony FauciPaul knocks YouTube for removing video he posted, points users to competitor Average daily COVID-19 infections topped last summer's peak, CDC says Ron Johnson praises conservative author bashed by Fauci MORE, has said it is important for schools to reopen as safely as possible.

Updated at 2:01 p.m.